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"A ground-shaping book that defines the edge of so many vital contemporary debates. Hers is a voice simultaneously behind and beyond the veil" Colum McCann Headscarves and Hymens explodes the myth that we should stand back and watch while women are disempowered and abused in the name of religion. In this laceratingly honest account, Eltahawy takes aim both at attitudes in the Middle East and at the western liberals who mistake misogyny for cultural difference. Her argument is clear: unless political revolution in the Arab world is accompanied by social and sexual revolution, no progress will be made. Headscarves and Hymens is the book the world has been crying out for: a powerful, fearless account of what it really means to be a woman in the Muslim world. 'A fascinating, can't-look-away, whistle-stop tour of the Middle East' Daily Telegraph 'Brave and impassioned . . . A shocking book, and one that will make anyone who has seen veiling as a cultural issue think very hard about what is really going on' Mail on Sunday
First published in 1989. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
"This book casts a great deal of light on the events leading up to the French law banning Muslim headscarves in schools. Bowen takes us through the strange and often distorted debate that culminated in the decision to pass a new law. He shows the roots of this decision in French history and politics, with a marvelous eye for nuance and a sensitivity to the many positions which clashed in the debate. The result is a work that not only is tremendously important for an understanding of France today, but that also has relevance for similar debates that are now in train in many other Western societies."--Charles Taylor, Northwestern University
"This book, ostensibly an account of the French debates on Muslim headscarves in public schools, is a thoughtful and deep probe into French political culture, the legacy of colonialism, and the difficulty for a state that refuses to recognize communal differences in the public sphere to accommodate millions of Muslim immigrants. It is a timely, learned, and provocative work."--Stanley Hoffmann, Harvard University
"France's decision to ban religious signs in public schools was quite puzzling, if not downright crazy, to many outsiders. In "Why the French Don't Like Headscarves," John Bowen manages to make sense of the apparent madness by carefully tracing the disparate threads of the issue, in particular by replacing the debate within the specific French context of the long, complicated relationship between Church and State. This book should be read by all those who seek a fair and comprehensive analysis of the headscarves decision and of the broader question of the place of Muslims in contemporary French society."--Sophie Meunier, PrincetonUniversity, author of "The French Challenge: Adapting to Globalization"
"This extremely important book brings us a fresh and innovative analysis of its subject. What is new is that it is not by a French scholar--who would be immersed in the heated passions of the issue--but by an American anthropologist who decodes for us the chronology and the political and philosophical foundations of this particular debate."--Malika Zeghal, University of Chicago Divinity School, author of "Les islamistes marocains"
Over the last decade, there has been an increasing number of middle- and upper-class urban Pakistani women actively turning toward Islam via Al-Huda, an Islamic school for women aiming to transform the women who absorb its message into 'pious' subjects. Established in the early 1990s, Al-Huda is unique in its ability to attract a following among these women, a feat other religious groups have been unsuccessful in accomplishing. In ""Transforming Faith"", Sadaf Ahmad deftly explores how Al-Huda is fostering a new generation of educated, urban, middle-class women to become veiled conservatives. She offers an engrossing and sensitive account of how the school's aggressive recruiting methods through informal religious study groups and a one-year degree program combined with the school's techniques of persuasive teaching methods have turned Al-Huda into a social movement. As a woman of Pakistani origin, Ahmad offers an in-depth look at the students and members of Al-Huda in ways that a cultural outsider would be excluded from doing. She reveals that although Pakistani women are better educated than ever before they still face social barriers that limit them from working or pursuing further education. Ahmad's groundbreaking work demonstrates Al-Huda's ever-widening teachings and influence in Pakistan and in its recent global extensions. More broadly, this book illuminates how Al-Huda uses the trappings of modernity to engage educated women in a kind of religious study that transforms their ideology, behavior, and lifestyle within a particular Islamic framework. Because of Al-Huda's teachings, Pakistani society is changing, as is the rest of the Muslim world.
In recent decades, the taking of hostages has proven to be a particularly effective tactic for Islamic terrorist organizations worldwide, including al Qaeda. The global jihad movement regards citizens of foreign (mainly western) countries as prime targets for abduction, although in fact local residents have constituted the majority of kidnapping victims. This book analyzes Islamic terror abductions over the last 30 years in the Middle East (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia), Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and the Philippines), Africa (the Maghreb, the Sahel regions, and Somalia), and in Russia as a part of the RussianChechen conflict. Discussion also focuses on the abduction by Hizballah of Israeli soldiers, the Second Lebanon War of 2006, the Mumbai terror attack (2008), the Chechen hostage crisis in Moscow and Beslan (2002 and 2004), the kidnapping of employees of the Algerian In Amenas gas facility by al Qaeda of the Maghreb in January 2013 and the Nairobi Westgate Mall hostage crisis in September 2013. The role of Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, and its patronage of terror organizations that utilize the tactic of abduction to promote Iranian interests in Lebanon and Iraq, is highlighted throughout. Discussion focuses on the challenges faced by countries whose citizens have been abducted by Islamic terror organizations and their reactions to these challenges, and provides theoretical classifications of the phenomenon of terrorism in general and terror abduction in particular.
Amid mounting fears of violent Islamic extremism, many Europeans ask whether Muslim immigrants can integrate into historically Christian countries. In a groundbreaking ethnographic investigation of France's Muslim migrant population, Why Muslim Integration Fails in Christian-Heritage Societies explores this complex question. The authors conclude that both Muslim and non-Muslim French must share responsibility for the slow progress of Muslim integration. Claire Adida, David Laitin, and Marie-Anne Valfort found that in France, Muslims are widely perceived as threatening, based in large part on cultural differences between Muslim and rooted French that feed both rational and irrational Islamophobia. Relying on a unique methodology to isolate the religious component of discrimination, the authors identify a discriminatory equilibrium in which both Muslim immigrants and native French act negatively toward one another in a self-perpetuating, vicious circle. Disentangling the rational and irrational threads of Islamophobia is essential if Europe hopes to repair a social fabric that has frayed around the issue of Muslim immigration. Muslim immigrants must address their own responsibility for the failures of integration, and Europeans must acknowledge the anti-Islam sentiments at the root of their antagonism. The authors outline public policy solutions aimed at promoting religious diversity in fair-minded host societies.
As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict persists, aspiring peacemakers continue to search for the precise territorial dividing line that will satisfy both Israeli and Palestinian nationalist demands. The prevailing view assumes that this struggle is nothing more than a dispute over real estate. "Defining Neighbors" boldly challenges this view, shedding new light on how Zionists and Arabs understood each other in the earliest years of Zionist settlement in Palestine and suggesting that the current singular focus on boundaries misses key elements of the conflict.
Drawing on archival documents as well as newspapers and other print media from the final decades of Ottoman rule, Jonathan Gribetz argues that Zionists and Arabs in pre-World War I Palestine and the broader Middle East did not think of one another or interpret each other's actions primarily in terms of territory or nationalism. Rather, they tended to view their neighbors in religious terms--as Jews, Christians, or Muslims--or as members of "scientifically" defined races--Jewish, Arab, Semitic, or otherwise. Gribetz shows how these communities perceived one another, not as strangers vying for possession of a land that each regarded as exclusively their own, but rather as deeply familiar, if at times mythologized or distorted, others. Overturning conventional wisdom about the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Gribetz demonstrates how the seemingly intractable nationalist contest in Israel and Palestine was, at its start, conceived of in very different terms.
Courageous and deeply compelling, "Defining Neighbors" is a landmark book that fundamentally recasts our understanding of the modern Jewish-Arab encounter and of the Middle East conflict today.
In "Varieties of Muslim Experience," anthropologist Lawrence Rosen explores aspects of Arab Muslim life that are, at first glance, perplexing to Westerners. He ranges over such diverse topics as why Arabs eschew portraiture, why a Muslim scientist might be attracted to fundamentalism, and why the Prophet must be protected from blasphemous cartoons. What connects these seemingly disparate features of Arab social, political, and cultural life? Rosen argues that the common thread is the importance Arabs place on the negotiation of interpersonal relationships--a link that helps to explain actions as seemingly unfathomable as suicide bombing and as elusive as Quranic interpretation.
By consulting the work of well-known and obscure al-Qaeda theoreticians, Michael W. S. Ryan finds jihadist terrorism strategy has more in common with the principles of Maoist guerrilla warfare than mainstream Islam. Encouraging strategists and researchers to devote greater attention to jihadi ideas rather than jihadist military operations, Ryan builds an effective framework for analyzing al-Qaeda's plans against America and constructs a compelling counternarrative to the West's supposed "war on Islam." Ryan examines the Salafist roots of al-Qaeda ideology and the contributions of its most famous founders, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a political-military context. He also reads the Arabic-language works of lesser known theoreticians who have played an instrumental role in framing al-Qaeda's so-called war of the oppressed. These authors readily cite the guerrilla strategies of Mao, Che Guevara, and the mastermind of the Vietnam War, General Giap. They also incorporate the arguments of American theorists writing on "fourth-generation warfare." Through these texts, readers experience events as insiders see them, and by concentrating on the activities and pronouncements of al-Qaeda's thought leaders, especially in Yemen, they discern the direct link between al-Qaeda's tactics and trends in anti-U.S. terrorism. Ryan shows al-Qaeda's political-military strategy to be a revolutionary and largely secular departure from the classic Muslim conception of jihad, adding invaluable dimensions to the operational, psychological, and informational strategies already deployed by America's military in the region.
Growing populations and economies have led to an increase in water demand around the globe. However, there are large variations in the amounts of water available, and growing concern surrounding the uncertainty associated with these supplies. This is evident nowhere more than in the dry and arid Arabian peninsula. Global food security also faces an uncertain future. The Gulf states suffer from a substantial food gap, and all the countries in the region are net food importers. The increase in the region's population, rising income levels, and harsh weather conditions that prevent the increase of local food production, have resulted in a vast increase in the region's food imports. In this book, water and food resource management strategies are examined, as well as the policies in the Gulf states, the global geopolitics of water security, future demand trends in the Gulf region, and the particular challenges faced by the UAE in ensuring a reliable supply of food and water in the coming decades.
The ecological crisis is the most overwhelming to have ever faced humanity and its consequences permeate every domain of life. This trenchant book examines its relation to Islamophobia as the dominant form of racism today, showing how both share roots in domination, colonialism, and the logics of capitalism. Ghassan Hage proposes that both racism and humanity's destructive relationship with the environment emanate from the same mode of inhabiting the world: an occupying force imposes its own interest as law, subordinating others for the extraction of value, eradicating or exterminating what gets in the way. In connecting these two issues, Hage gives voice to the claim taking shape in many activist spaces that anti-racist and ecological struggles are intrinsically related. In both, the aim is to move beyond what makes us see otherness, whether human or nonhuman, as something that exists solely to be managed.
The hijab is arguably the most discussed and controversial item of women's clothing today. It has become the primary global symbol of female Muslim identity for Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and is the focus of much debate in the confrontation between Islam and the West. Nowhere has this debate been more acute or complex than in France. In ""Hijab and the Republic"", Bronwyn Winter provides a riveting account of the controversial 2003 French law to ban Islamic headscarves and other religious signs from public schools. While much has been written on the subject, Winter offers a unique feminist perspective, carefully delineating its political and cultural aspects.To understand the current controversy, the author traces the history of secularism in France and the shift in interpretations of Islam before turning to a review of the more recent past. Drawing on both scholarly literature and popular commentary, she examines the headscarf debate from its inception in 1989 through fluctuations in its intensity in public consciousness over the 1990s to its surging significance in the wake of 9/11 and the consequent shift in global politics. Winter argues convincingly that the issue must be understood within the specific historical and cultural context of France and through a feminist lens, since gender is fundamental to the debate about veiling Muslim women. ""Hijab and the Republic"" presents a fresh and richly detailed examination of a subject that remains at the forefront of discussion about Islam and the West.
During the two decades that preceded the 2011 revolutions in Egypt and Syria, animated debates took place in Cairo and Damascus on political and social goals for the future. Egyptian and Syrian intellectuals argued over the meaning of tanwir, Arabic for "enlightenment," and its significance for contemporary politics. They took up questions of human dignity, liberty, reason, tolerance, civil society, democracy, and violence. In Enlightenment on the Eve of Revolution, Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab offers a groundbreaking analysis of the tanwir debates and their import for the 2011 uprisings. Kassab locates these debates in their local context as well as in broader contemporary political and intellectual Arab history. She argues that the enlightenment they advocated was a form of political humanism that demanded the right of free and public use of reason. By calling for the restoration of human dignity and seeking a moral compass in the wake of the destruction wrought by brutal regimes, they understood tanwir as a humanist ideal. Kassab connects their debates to the Arab uprisings, arguing that their demands bear a striking resemblance to what was voiced on the streets of Egypt and Syria in 2011. Enlightenment on the Eve of Revolution is the first book to document these debates for the Anglophone audience and to analyze their importance for contemporary Egyptian and Syrian intellectual life and politics.
Muhsin is one of the organizers of Al-Fitra Foundation, a South African support group for lesbian, transgender, and gay Muslims. Islam and homosexuality are seen by many as deeply incompatible. This, according to Muhsin, is why he had to act. "I realized that I'm not alone--these people are going through the very same things that I'm going through. But I've managed, because of my in-depth relationship with God, to reconcile the two. I was completely comfortable saying to the world that I'm gay and I'm Muslim. I wanted to help other people to get there. So that's how I became an activist." Living Out Islam documents the rarely-heard voices of Muslims who live in secular democratic countries and who are gay, lesbian, and transgender. It weaves original interviews with Muslim activists into a compelling composite picture which showcases the importance of the solidarity of support groups in the effort to change social relationships and achieve justice. This nascent movement is not about being "out" as opposed to being "in the closet." Rather, as the voices of these activists demonstrate, it is about finding ways to live out Islam with dignity and integrity, reconciling their sexuality and gender with their faith and reclaiming Islam as their own.
Muslim countries experience wide variation in levels of Islamist political mobilization, including such political activities as protest, voting, and violence. Institutional Origins of Islamist Political Mobilization provides a theory of the institutional origins of Islamist politics, focusing on the development of religious common knowledge, religious entrepreneurship, and coordinating focal points as critical to the success of Islamist activism. Examining Islamist politics in more than 50 countries over four decades, the book illustrates that Islamist political activism varies a great deal, appearing in specific types of institutional contexts. Detailed case studies of Turkey, Algeria, and Senegal demonstrate how diverse contexts yield different types of Islamist politics across the Muslim world.
How do ordinary Muslims deal with and influence the increasingly pervasive Islamic norms set by institutions of the state and religion? Becoming Better Muslims offers an innovative account of the dynamic interactions between individual Muslims, religious authorities, and the state in Aceh, Indonesia. Relying on extensive historical and ethnographic research, David Kloos offers a detailed analysis of religious life in Aceh and an investigation into today's personal processes of ethical formation. Aceh is known for its history of rebellion and its recent implementation of Islamic law. Debunking the stereotypical image of the Acehnese as inherently pious or fanatical, Kloos shows how Acehnese Muslims reflect consciously on their faith and often frame their religious lives in terms of gradual ethical improvement. Revealing that most Muslims view their lives through the prism of uncertainty, doubt, and imperfection, he argues that these senses of failure contribute strongly to how individuals try to become better Muslims. He also demonstrates that while religious authorities have encroached on believers and local communities, constraining them in their beliefs and practices, the same process has enabled ordinary Muslims to reflect on moral choices and dilemmas, and to shape the ways religious norms are enforced. Arguing that Islamic norms are carried out through daily negotiations and contestations rather than blind conformity, Becoming Better Muslims examines how ordinary people develop and exercise their religious agency.
"Walking the Precipice "gives a succinct, readable account through a woman's eyes of the rise of the Taliban in war-torn Afghanistan. This is a personal report about a country at the heart of the "War on Terror."
In 1990, activist and grandmother Barbara Bick, age sixty-five, traveled with a women's delegation to Afghanistan for what she thought would be her last great adventure. Instead, while the Mujahideen shelled Kabul, Bick forged deep friendships with her Afghan hosts. In the ensuing years, she watched with horror as the Taliban took over Afghanistan and instituted its fiercely anti-woman policies.
In 2001, Bick returned to Afghanistan, this time to even more dangerous terrain: the region dominated by the Northern Alliance, the anti-Taliban militia. She was their guest at a compound where Ahmad Shah Massoud, their leader, was also staying, and was there on September 9 when Taliban infiltrators assassinated him prior to the al Qaeda attacks on the United States. Bick returned to Afghanistan one last time, in 2004, to see how women were faring under the new government.
"Walking the Precipice "gives new insight into the people, politics, and culture of a country that should be on everyone's "watch list."
A longtime peace and human rights activist, Barbara Bick has worked for Women Strike for Peace, NEGAR-Support of Women of Afghanistan, the Institute for Policy Studies, the Institute of Women's Policy Research, and the National Conference of State and Local Public Policies.
Examining late twentieth-century autobiographical writing by Arab women novelists, poets, and artists, this anthology explores the ways in which Arab women have portrayed and created their identities within differing social environments. Even as the collection dismantles standard notions of Arab female subservience, the works presented here go well beyond the confines of those traditional boundaries. The book explores the many routes Arab women writers have taken to speak to each other, to their readers, and to the world at large. Drawing from a rich body of literature, the essays collectively attest to the surprisingly lively and committed roles Arab women play in varied geographic regions, at home and abroad. These recent writings assess how the interplay between individual, private, ethnic identity and the collective, public, global world of politics has impacted Arab women's rights.
Consulting the work of well-known and obscure al-Qaeda theoreticians, Michael W. S. Ryan finds Jihadist terrorism has more in common with the principles of Maoist guerrilla warfare than mainstream Islam. Encouraging strategists and researchers to devote greater attention to Jihadi ideas rather than Jihadist military operations, Ryan builds a more effective framework for analyzing al-Qaeda's plans against America and constructs a more compelling counternarrative to the West's supposed war on Islam. Ryan uniquely examines the Salafist Jihadist roots of al-Qaeda ideology and the contributions of its most famous founders, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a political-military context. He also reads the Arabic-language works of lesser known theoreticians who have played an instrumental role in framing al-Qaeda's so-called war of the oppressed. These authors readily cite the guerrilla strategies of Mao, Che Guevara, and the mastermind of the Vietnam War, General Giap. They also incorporate the arguments of American theorists writing on fourth generation warfare.By examining these texts, readers experience events as insiders see them, and by concentrating on the activities and pronouncements of al-Qaeda's thought leaders, especially in Yemen, they discern the direct link between al-Qaeda's tactics and trends in anti-U.S. terrorism. Ryan shows al-Qaeda's political-military strategy to be a revolutionary and largely secular departure from a classic Muslim conception of jihad, adding an invaluable dimension to the operational, psychological, and informational strategies already deployed by America's military in the region.
An examination of the place of religion, especially Islam, in political and cultural life took on a special urgency after the events of 9/11. The essays in this volume concentrate on the way that Islam impacts on the everyday lives of people who reside in societies where Islam plays a large part. The relationship between Islam and women has always been seen as problematic, and by highlighting women's negotiations with this religion, this volume seeks to understand the many and various strategies and connections that are made, and their political and cultural ramifications. By keeping an Asian focus, the authors also seek to understand the wide panorama that Islamic societies inhabit, and the manifold political and cultural expressions that ensue from this. The effort is not only to break the image of a monolithic structure and set of beliefs, but also to highlight on-the-ground negotiations, and the ways that women in particular find spaces within Islamic structures and discourses. This book was originally published as a special issue of Inter-Asia Cultural Studies.
Shahrazad, the legendary fictional storyteller who spun the tales of the 1,001 Arabian Nights, has long been rendered as a silent exotic beauty by Western film and fiction adaptations. Now, she talks back to present a new image of Muslim women. In "Liberating Shahrazad," Suzanne Gauch analyzes how postcolonial writers and filmmakers from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia have reclaimed the storyteller in order to portray Muslim women in ways that highlight their power to shape their own destinies. Gauch looks at Maghrebian works that incorporate Shahrazad's storytelling techniques into unexpected and unforeseen narratives. Highlighting the fluid nature of storytelling, Gauch demonstrates how these new depictions of Shahrazad--from artists such as Moufida Tlatli, Fatima Mernissi, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Assia Djebar, Leila Sebbar--navigate the demands of a global marketplace, even as they reshape the stories told about the Islamic world. In the face of both rising fundamentalism and proliferating Western media representations of Arab and Muslim women as silent, exploited, and uneducated victims, Gauch establishes how contemporary works of literature and film revive the voice of a long-silenced Shahrazad--and, ultimately, overthrow oppressive images of Muslim women. Suzanne Gauch is assistant professor of English and women's studies at Temple University.
This book traces the global, national, and local origins of the conflict between Muslims and Jews in France, challenging the belief that rising anti-Semitism in France is rooted solely in the unfolding crisis in Israel and Palestine. Maud Mandel shows how the conflict in fact emerged from processes internal to French society itself even as it was shaped by affairs elsewhere, particularly in North Africa during the era of decolonization.
Mandel examines moments in which conflicts between Muslims and Jews became a matter of concern to French police, the media, and an array of self-appointed spokesmen from both communities: Israel's War of Independence in 1948, France's decolonization of North Africa, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the 1968 student riots, and Francois Mitterrand's experiments with multiculturalism in the 1980s. She takes an in-depth, on-the-ground look at interethnic relations in Marseille, which is home to the country's largest Muslim and Jewish populations outside of Paris. She reveals how Muslims and Jews in France have related to each other in diverse ways throughout this history--as former residents of French North Africa, as immigrants competing for limited resources, as employers and employees, as victims of racist aggression, as religious minorities in a secularizing state, and as French citizens.
In "Muslims and Jews in France," Mandel traces the way these multiple, complex interactions have been overshadowed and obscured by a reductionist narrative of Muslim-Jewish polarization."
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